20 March 2020

Life soars ahead

March 2020 marks the one year birthday celebration of the two world-first Rio Tinto Life Flight PC-24 jets that took to the skies last year.

The two jets, ‘Kimberley’ and ‘Victory’ have clocked 1.4 million kilometres and conducted 476 flights to reach 1,300 patients across Western Australia.

The jets were an investment of $26 million made by the RFDS in 2019, partly funded by a $6.5 million Lotterywest grant.

“Our life-saving service is free to all who need us in the regions,” RFDS Western Operations Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Tomkinson said.

“Thanks to the significant financial contributions by Rio Tinto, Lotterywest and the Commonwealth Government we were able to take a crucial step forward in aeromedical service.”

The long-haul capability and increased capacity of the jets to carry three stretchered patients is an asset to the RFDS when retrieving multiple patients from regional WA to Perth for specialist care.

Of the 1,300 patients that used the jets, the most common diagnosis was for heart and stroke related medical conditions.

The jets retrieved the most number of patients from the Kimberley r(512 patients), followed by the Pilbara (315 patients), Midwest (210 patients) and the Goldfields (122 patients).